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The Racialized Landscapes of Real Property and Finance Capital in Western Massachusetts

Author(s): Christopher Douyard

Year: 2014

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Over the past 30 years, archaeologists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have struggled with several perplexing transactions in the deed chain of the W.E.B. Du Bois Homesite in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. There are several overlapping mortgages, and two apparent sales of the property. These documents seemingly contradict Du Bois’ accounts of the family’s continuous ownership of the property through the nineteenth century. Initially focused on these contradictions, I have shifted towards exploring the ways African Americans used to accessed finance capital in local/regional marketplaces. In this paper, using the documentary record of their engagement with real property, I explore the mechanisms used by Du Bois’ ancestors to enter capital markets. Additionally, I address the financial markets as racialized spaces, their impacts on landscapes, and the potential they provide for archaeological analysis at our sites of study.

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The Racialized Landscapes of Real Property and Finance Capital in Western Massachusetts. Christopher Douyard. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436918)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-37,10

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America